Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 211–228 | Cite as

Large City or Small Town: an Empirical Analysis of the Effects of Migration Strategies of Rural Households on Income in China



It is widely recognized that migration has a great impact on households’ quality of life, and income is an important indicator for evaluating success of a migration (or mobility) strategy. Using data drawn from a family survey conducted in 2014, this paper analyzes the characteristics of four types of rural households: traditional agricultural family (TAF), mobility in a local small town (MST), semi-migrant family (SMF), and migrant in a large city (MLC). We isolated the impact of geographic and occupational mobility on the income of rural families. Findings reveal that there is a preference among rural households to live and work in a small town and that family income has a strong positive correlation with occupational change and family geographic mobility. The locations of family or work are shown to have important effects on family income, and moving to a much less developed city (small town) may be a way to increase income in an impoverished household.


Urbanization Occupational change Geographic mobility Rural labor force Quality of life China 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


This research is funded by the National Social Science Fund of China (Award No. 16XRK002) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Award No. 41271155).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.The College of HumanitiesNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingPeople’s Republic of China

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